Lesson 3: Different Types of Paragraphs
In this lesson, we’ll be reviewing the different types of paragraphs that we’ll encounter while writing.
- To define and discuss the different types of paragraphs.
- To clearly define what kind of sentences each type of paragraph should contain
- To provide examples of each type of paragraph
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 3:
- Narrative Paragraph
- Descriptive Paragraph
- Expository Paragraph
- Comparative Paragraph
- Persuasive Paragraph
In this lesson, we’ll be talking about the different kinds of paragraphs that you’ll encounter when writing. These are most likely paragraphs that you’ve already encountered before. Here, we’ll be looking at each type of paragraph and providing examples that will better help you understand each kind of paragraph, what it should contain and how to write it. These will help you organize your work and produce more cohesive work. Also incorporated into this discussion are common uses for these kinds of paragraphs. Outlined below are the different kinds of paragraphs.
A narrative paragraph is one that wishes to tell a story. This can be written either in first person or third person, depending on which is appropriate for the events that one wishes to convey (we’ll discuss this more in the coming lesson). The main characteristic of a narrative paragraph is that it follows a string of events. These are usually done in chronological order, although this isn’t always the case (especially with narrative paragraphs written in the third person or those which are being told from the present and are looking back at an event).
This kind of paragraph is usually used when writing fiction or when writing anecdotes, feature articles and/or journal entries. This type of paragraph is one of the most widely used.
Below is an example of a paragraph narrating a certain event:
Johnny didn’t enjoy his 18th birthday very much. There was a party, there was food, there were drinks but he spent most of it sitting in his room, playing a videogame his mom bought him. He could hear the sounds of the party coming in from under the door—he could hear Layla, his then-girlfriend drunkenly knocking on the door before falling asleep on the floor outside. He could hear someone turn the TV on in the living room, someone get the pizza when the doorbell rang, someone try to call the cops before throwing up—all the sounds of the party, none of the celebration.
A descriptive paragraph is one that describes a certain subject. While closely related to the narrative paragraph, this one doesn’t operate on a certain timeline. It simply aims to describe something, regardless of what happened to that object, person, place or event.
This is most often used when writing about products and/or services.
Below is an example of a paragraph describing a certain subject:
The new Organics skincare line is a line of facial cleansers, toners and moisturizers that are made from dermatologically tested ingredients. They are all a hundred percent hypoallergenic and come in three different specialized brands—Organics for Normal Skin, Organics for Dry Skin and Organics for Oily/Combination Skin. Keep reading below to see which Organics skincare line was designed for you.
An expository paragraph is one that aims to explain. This is also closely related to narrative and descriptive paragraphs. However, unlike those two this one aims to explain the subject and only narrates or describes the subject if it is needed for the explanation. This doesn’t operate on a set timeline and is not so concerned with the subject’s attributes as it is focused on explaining those attributes.
This is most commonly used when writing manuals, How-To articles and/or informative texts.
Below is an example of a paragraph which explains its subject:
It can be very challenging to make fluffy scrambled eggs. Some people say milk, some people say mayonnaise—what most people don’t realize is that the key to making these light, heavenly delights is really simple: a blender. The blender’s whipping motion lets air into the egg mixture and allows it to rise once its put over a slow-burning flame. It’s also important to keep stirring the egg as its cooking, this allows the air to remain in the mixture. The air allows the eggs to rise, giving it that light, fluffy texture that we all love.
A comparative paragraph is one that aims to compare and contrast. This usually deals with two different subjects that are being compared to arrive at a conclusion about which is more effective or which one prefers, depending on the subject involved.
This is most typically used when one writes reviews on products, films, books and/or music.
Below is a paragraph which contrasts two different subjects:
When people talk about the sociopolitical, dystopian genre of fiction, two names always seem to float to the surface—George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. While both of them most definitely did write dystopian novels as cautionary tales for mankind, they are also wildly different in their arguments for how mankind should proceed. In Orwell’s 1984, he predicted that mankind’s end would be in a super strict future where all moves would be monitored and which would not allow for any emotion or true learning to take place. In his universe, George Orwell eliminated the possibilities of expression and freedom—he predicted that mankind would perish through tyranny. In contrast, Huxley’s A Brave New World predicted that the world would end in the opposite manner—in the future that A Brave New World depicts, there is no longer such a thing as chaos or repression or disorder because everything has been perfected: people are bred for their professions so no one feels sad, people are allowed and in fact required to express themselves sexually, to the point of monogamy being a non-existence, people pop fictional drugs which are thinly veiled dupes for downers when they want to “go on vacation”. Huxley was able to predict that mankind’s peril isn’t control or tyranny but our obsessions with pleasure—so much so that in our desire to let loose, the pursuit of these pleasures will instead control us. While both of these pursue valid points, I daresay that Huxley had the better end of it: in our world of quick consumerism and have-it-when-you-want-it policies, obesity and premature liver failure, I would say that pleasure is the way we have decided to perish.
A persuasive paragraph aims to persuade someone to do something or to agree with their point. When writing these kinds of paragraphs, it’s important to always be honest and to avoid overtly appealing to people’s emotions. Also, if the persuasive paragraph is being used for sales, it’s best to leave information about where it’s available—however, it’s unadvisable to be extremely forceful about your subject. The more you hard-sell something, the less effective your paragraph becomes. Persuasive paragraphs should always be rooted in facts and logical points.
This is most often used in sales spiels and advertisements.
Below is a short example of a persuasive paragraph:
I recently made one of the best purchases of my life. The new NutriBullet is a fast and easy way to make healthy meals. It comes with different caps that you snap on, twist and go! You can puree all kinds of vegetables, fruits and dairy products—every cap comes with a unique blade that is ideal for all the different things that you’d like to make, whether you’re preparing yourself breakfast, a post-work out snack or a pitcher of margaritas for cocktail hour, the NutriBullet can help you get it done. This wasn’t very expensive for its efficiency—at $30, I think that it’s definitely worth it. I’m sure that you can get this at any hardware or department store but I got mine online at electronics.com. I liked this product so much that I applied to be part of their affiliate program. If you decide to buy your NutriBullet from electronics.com, you can use my code NUTRIBULLET01 and get 20% off!
In this lesson, we were able to tackle the different kinds of paragraphs that you might be tasked to write. We were also able to look at what the specific goals of these different types of paragraphs are—along with a few tips on how to write these paragraphs, we were also able to look at different examples of how these are used.
Now that we’ve taken a look at how to write paragraphs, we’ll be moving onto another important lesson about the points of view—these are crucial when writing because they determine the tone and effectiveness of your paragraphs. Keep reading and we’ll be one step closer to improving our writing skills!